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Benefit changes

Removing Housing Benefit Family Premium

Housing Benefit family premium will be withdrawn for new claims from 1 May 2016. See Summer Budget 2015 page .

Housing Benefit and Pension Credit: limiting temporary absence

The government will delay the ending of the payments of  Housing Benefit and Pension Credit to claimants who travel outside of Great Britain for longer than four weeks (with no gap). This will now come into force in May 2016.( rather than April) See Budget March 2016 guide

Benefit Cap (Northern Ireland)

The Benefit Cap will be introduced in Northern Ireland from 31 May 2016. Potentially affected households will be contacted in advance by letter.

Read our Benefit Cap information pages

In the news

A record number of people affected by Council Tax arrears

Councils are too quick to pass debt to bailiffs, say StepChange Debt Charity and Money Advice Trust.

Universal Credit failing low-income families

A new report by the Resolution Foundation claims the Universal Credit roll out will make millions of families worse off.

Report suggests more than 1.25 million destitute

Joseph Rowntree Foundation research reveals 668,000 households living in severe poverty are unable to afford basic essentials.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) still causing misery for thousands

Citizens Advice reveals that Personal Independence Payment is still the most common issues people need support with.

Food bank use at record high

The Trussell Trust’s report shows that benefit changes and delays remain the biggest cause of foodbank use, accounting for 42% of all referrals (28% benefit delay and 14% changes). Sanctions also had an impact on those receiving Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Personal Independence Payments (PIP).


The threat of job losses has been much in the news in the past few weeks, with retailers BHS and Austin Reed going into administration, the Port Talbot steel crisis in Wales and reports of redundancies looming in some of the major banks.

If you or your clients have lost their jobs or are facing the possibility of redundancy, charitable funds listed on our Grants Search may be able to help you, especially those that help people from particular occupations or industries. As well as financial help, many provide other support, such as counselling and training resources, to help you at an be a very unsettling, difficult time.

Examples include:

You can use our Grants Search to look for charitable funds that may be able to help you, based on your circumstances, background, job history and needs.

See also our benefits information on Facing redundancy

Date of publication: May 2016





Coronavirus Information

My child's school is closing due to the coronavirus outbreak. What can I do?

The government has announced that schools will be closing for the majority of students from 20 March 2020.

Children in the following groups will still be able to go to school if their parents choose to send them:

  • The children of key workers
  • Children receiving support from social services
  • Children with disabilities
  • Children with Education Health and Care Plans (EHCPs​)
  • Young carers

If you need to take time off work to care for your children, you should check your employment rights on the ACAS website.

What if I am well but my employer tells me not to work because of the coronavirus outbreak?

This will depend on your contract and is an employment law issue. You may be able to get advice from ACAS on this. You will not be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).

What if I have been in contact with someone with coronavirus and don’t want to go to work and risk infecting my colleagues and customers?

You will only be able to get special help under the coronavirus rules if you are self-isolating in accordance with NHS advice. You can find the current NHS coronavirus advice on the NHS website

What if I am not getting any customers in my self-employed business because of the coronavirus?

You may be able to claim Universal Credit, but you will not be entitled to any special support because of the coronavirus outbreak. You may have the minimum income floor applied to your claim, or you may be required to look for full time-employment.

I’m on a zero-hours contract, will I get paid if I’m told to self isolate?

If you are self-isolating in accordance with NHS guidance and you usually earn at least £120 per week, you should get Statutory Sick Pay even if you are on a zero hours contract.

What if I am homeless with no income so can’t self-isolate and need funds for accommodation?

The government has not published any guidance for what you should do if you are homeless and develop coronavirus symptoms. It would be best to contact your local authority for advice. You should do so by telephone if at all possible.